Sunday, February 17, 2019

Major maintenance done!

Learning to do major maintenance on the Volvo myself... now I have new windshield wiper blades, and can see out again #volvo

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Russian Sauna

What a wonderful sauna. So Finnish... or so Belarussian... or, really, Russian. The Russian sauna culture is similar to Finland's, except only more so. More hot, close to 110 degrees Celsius in my case. More snowplay. More cold water. More funny hats. Maybe also more vodka.

I rented a Russian sauna at the Silichy ski area in Belarus, near Minsk. There was a sauna room, a pool room, and relaxing room. Next to the sauna room there was a woodshed where a local lady was putting more wood into the furnace, without having to visit the sauna room. Huh, pretty hot. The temperature was hovering around 107, although when I opened the door to take a photo, it decreased to 104.

Funny hats:

The pool:

The sauna:

After-sauna drink at the restaurant:

This article has also been published at TGR. And all sauna and swimming articles can of course be found from and! Photos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All sauna and pool photos are taken with permission, when the facility is closed, or when no other guests are present.


Badeschiff! A great idea to swim in the middle of Berlin, in the river but yet in a clean pool. In a ship, or barge converted to a pool.

Much recommended. Pretty cold water though, even in the summer. There's also a great bar, overall a very nice place to hang out.

Read more from the Wikipedia article or the official website. The place is open year around, and in the winter there are saunas.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All pool photos have been taken when the facility is closed, with permission, not of other people, or with permission.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Milan Cathedral

Janne and I visited the cathedral of Milan, Duomo di Milano. This magnificent piece of art, construction, and religion was a wonder to visit, particularly from the upper floors and roof. The cathedral took a whopping 600 years to complete, and is the fourth largest church building in the world.

But, this was also a badly organized tourist visit. Even though we paid 50€ for "no-line" tickets, we ended up waiting for access up to the cathedral for a long time in the cold winter weather. And when coming down, there was a completely unnecessary line that we waited in for at least half an hour, when our tickets would have allowed us to pass the line, and there were short stairs to use as well for anybody to go down easily. I can understand the wait for the lift to go up, and the popularity of the site. And pay happily extra for a visit to such an important and extraordinary place. But I don't necessarily understand no signs, no information, no staff, and no organization :-)

Note that there are underground "terraces", an architectural dig on the side/under the cathedral that reveals ancient walls and streets. Also worth a visit!

Photos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Luola Magazine

The "Luola" magazine from the Finnish Caving Association dropped into the mailbox today. Nice! And of course, we got two copies because there's two members in the household...

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. And all the caving stories can of course be found from!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

No sauna for me :-(

No sauna for me for the next ten days. I had a small operation on my hand... and the wound has to heal

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. And all sauna stories can of course be found from the site!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Marco Polo's Sauna

While at Gudauri, we stayed at the Marco Polo hotel. The hotel has a spa, with a small sauna, pool, and a jacuzzi. The sauna is small but fiery. It was also fun to meet Russians who wanted to talk about the infamous (and sadly, deadly) Finnish-Russian sauna world championships...

It was also interesting to see so many guests out in the snow, laying around and rubbing snow on themselves. I guess the Georgian & Russian cultures have very similar approach to sauna as we do in Finland :-)

More swimming and sauna stories can be found from the and websites. Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All pool and sauna photos have been taken with permission, when the facilities have been closed, or when no other guests have been present.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Georgia views

This week I've been touring the mountains of Georgia with my friends.

More skiing stories can be found from the website. Photos and videos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Tokyo commute. With skis.

I only have an evening, not enough to take a Shinkansen to the real mountains. But I do have time to visit yet another Tokyo indoor ski place. This time, the Snova Mizonokuchi! It was fun to ride through downtown Tokyo with my skis and boots, through the train system.

There's three indoor ski halls in the greater Tokyo area, Snova Shin-Yokohama in Yokohama that I had already been to, today's destination Snova Mizokuchi in Kawasaki, and Sayama Ski Resort in which will have to wait for a future trip.

And of course, I wanted to go on a real outdoors mountain, but that didn't seem to be possible with the tight work schedule I had. What would have been lovely were the two ski resorts around Mount Fuji, Yeti Resort and Fujiten Resort. Maybe next time...

But I'm happy I went to Snova Mizonokuchi. It is small, really small! Like maybe ten meters of vertical difference. And no snow... but hard ice all over the place. Still, a nice two hours in the facility, skiing the tiny slope, having fun on the icy halfpipe, and watching the maybe 5 year old Japanese kids having so much fun on the slopes!

Photos, video, and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All the planetskier skiing stories can be found at, of course! This particular article has also been published at TGR. Tämä artikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Swims were kinda average

I had an opportunity to swim twice this week. At a spa in the Tokyo evening, the water was so hot that my skin was hurting. And having come back home, I joined my colleagues for a visit at the Löyly in Helsinki. The water in the sea was ... also hurting my skin. But, on the average is was pretty nice temperatures. And in both places the views were great.

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. And, of course, all my swimming and sauna stories can be found from the and and sites.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Check-in Moomins

Love the new luggage tags Finnair hands out, not to mention the Moomins in their Tokyo check-in desk.

Photo and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Happiness is a start...

... of the car even if it has been a week in the cold without heating cable. I take my wins where I can.

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko.


The Löyly sauna & restaurant in Helsinki has been the most notable architecture and experience thing of recent years in Helsinki. I've been there, but not yet in the sauna side. Today it changed because my co-workers organized a very nice event there for our surfing club...

There's three saunas: the smoke sauna, the large and very nice main sauna, and a private sauna. I liked the main sauna most, the private one we did not visit. I might have liked the smoke sauna but it felt a bit mellow and not smokey enough... not sure if it was because we were there late in the day, or if they're not running it in quite real mode as they've had it already burn once.

Overall grade: 10 on a scale of 4-10. One of the best places to have a sauna and sea swim in Helsinki. On par with the Kuusijärvi smoke sauna which really is the real thing :-) and the Allas Seapool which is best for swimming.

Tickets are 19.50€ for a visit to the sauna. Book early... this is a very popular place!

Photos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko and G. Camarillo. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Janne and I got to visit the Enrico Toti, an Italian submarine on our through trip to Milan.

A very interesting submarine. Odd paintings in the toilet, however:

At the museum there were also many other interesting things, from Leonardo da Vinci inventions to ships to cars. This fish-shaped car was an oddity among the exhibits:

Text and photos (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

The Iceman don't speak much

The icemen don't speak much, be they Finnish Formula 1 drivers or ancient frozen dead guys from the alps.

Janne and I were on a trip to Madonna di Campiglio this year, to ski, but when he realized that the Ötzi museum is a two-hour drive away, we simply could not skip that museum. I had been reading about Ötzi for a long time, and he had just had a school lesson on the topic, so it was very interesting to see the actual frozen body... and all the belongings. I was really surprised by the amount of tech that he had carried, tools, clothing, even medicines.

It was also funny to see that precautions in the museum for ensuring that Ötzi stays frozen. If the building burns, the fire brigade has a procedure to take the mummy out and to the local hospital, that has an ice room ready. I wonder if there's a a do-not-resuscitate plan at the hospital for Ötzi :-)

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Madonna di Sauna

The Hotel Milano in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, was our home for couple of days after the new year. I used their sauna every day... a typical small hotel basement sauna.

But, quite good heat, "Sauna Finlandese". Surprisingly good, in fact. And no extra cost.

Photos and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All sauna and pool pictures taken when there were no other guests in the facilities, with permission, or after closing.